Your One & Only Obstacle Part II – Preparing For Battle
Part II of III
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
The problem with things we’re afraid of is that we can’t live our lives by avoiding them altogether. There are some fears we can just skirt around, but then there are the ones tied to our dreams, who we want to be, and we can’t turn our backs on those. Not if we want to live whole lives.
We’ve all heard that bravery is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it.
Well, what we often forget—or maybe don’t even realize—is that strength works the same way. To be a strong person, you don’t have to be without weakness…you just have to overcome it.
And, like most things, that becomes easier as the habit becomes more solidified.
That means that all you have to do is train yourself to work in the face of fear.
I know, I know—easier said than done. But I have some tactics.
1. Repeat your mantra
For me, the one that works best is “Just because I don’t feel like doing ___, doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it.”
But maybe it’ll be something else for you. Maybe a quote (like the one from Eleanor up there). This one from Bill Cosby is pretty awesome:
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.”
Simple and powerful—love it.
2. Set time for your goal
You won’t do it if you don’t make time for it. And I mean make time for it—you have to put your foot down and insist.
Every time I say, “I’m going to write for an hour today,” I end up filling my day with stuff I have to do. Important stuff, nonetheless, but still stuff that is definitely not writing.
But when I set a time—put a reminder in my phone, tell the people in my house, and actually make myself sit down with pen and paper—it happens. It might not be good, it might not even be usable, but it’s writing and it counts.
So make it a priority. Treat it like it’s important, otherwise it won’t be important. And unimportant things get ignored. They remain unfinished.
3. Learn how to talk to your Inner Editor
I’ve named mine Enid (You know…”INner EDitor”? The letters…scrambled? Get it? No, it’s clever, I swear…) and she’s nasty as hell. They all are.
I learned from a writing workshop with Write To Glow: The Inner Editor (or as they call it, the Inner Critic) is universal (everyone has one) and it never sleeps.
So the only thing you can do is learn how to deal with it.
For me, the best way is to address it and establish that I’m not going to listen. So the thought will crop up—“This is terrible, why are you even writing this?” and I’ll respond with:
“That’s nice. I’m busy.”
It doesn’t completely silence the voice, but it establishes some control on your end. That you don’t have to take this. That you don’t have to fall into that negativity.
The truth is, those of us in the business of “pursuing our dreams” don’t get nearly enough credit for how brave we are. It takes a lot to face this kind of pain, criticism, and uncertainty every single day. But we do it.
It doesn’t really get easier—but you get stronger, and that makes it seem easier.
And remember this, too: You can’t really quit.
Have you ever tried quitting? It’s not nearly as effective as you’d think. Because no matter how vehemently you declare that you’re giving up on your dream…nothing about it really ends. Your desires won’t go away, nor will your passion for the work. Your ideas, your longing to express yourself creatively…it’s all still there. It’ll always be there.
Keep in mind, too, that the more it scares you, the more important it is that you conquer that fear and do what you know you have to do. Whatever you feel the greatest resistance against doing…THAT’S where your purpose lies.
Oh, and one last point—when it all seems like too much, remember that you’re not alone. You can even ask me for encouragement or advice on Twitter (@EveyJacob), I’m always ready to cheer someone on!
So now I have to ask, because I’m always on the lookout: How do you fight the fear??